8. Will this regulation force Planned Parenthood to choose between receiving Title X funding and performing abortions?
Not necessarily, but this new regulation does require a “disentanglement” of funding. Planned Parenthood and other Title X clinics would need to change the way they operate and possibly reorganize their legal structures in order to comply with the new regulation. But since the Reagan-era, technology and other regulations have made it much easier for organizations like Planned Parenthood to comply with the rule in a way that allows them to continue to perform abortions and still receive Title X grants.
The increase of medical abortions (i.e., using drugs such as Mifepruex to induce abortion) has reduced both the number of personnel and the type of facilities needed for Planned Parenthood to conduct abortion. For example, four states allow women the ability to speak with a doctor from their own home and to receive their medications by mail. Some other states use a form of telemedicine abortion called “the Iowa model.” As Eric Wicklund explains,
Current FDA rules restrict the drug – also known as Mifepruex – to clinical settings, specifically excluding pharmacies, so that it can’t be prescribed or mailed. That has given rise to a form of telemedicine abortion called “the Iowa model,” in which the patient visits a clinic and consults via telemedicine with a clinician in another location. In that setting, the clinician examines the patient remotely, consults with a nurse or healthcare worker at the patient’s bedside, then decides whether to approve the use of mifepristone, which is in a locked cabinet at the clinic that can be remotely opened by the clinician.
By using a telemedicine process, abortion clinics could assign a single small room and one employee to conduct abortions on the premises and still be in compliance with the regulation. And this is just one of the many ways Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers may be able to avoid complying with the intent of Title X and the new regulation.
Based on the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission article "Explainer: White House proposes rule to restrict federal funding of abortion." Used with permission.
Publication date: May 23, 2018